SAINT LEO, FL - Bethany Besancenez became the ninth player in school history to record 3,000 career assists as Florida Southern College volleyball topped No. 19 Saint Leo in five sets on Tuesday night in Sunshine State Conference action at the Bowman Center. The Moccasins (10-6, 7-1 SSC) took sole possession of second place in the conference standings and defeated the Lions (11-2, 6-2) for the second-straight time.
Florida Southern will head to Hoover, AL for the annual South Region Crossover this weekend. The Mocs will face three teams from the Gulf South Conference, beginning with a matchup on Oct. 13 against West Alabama, and concluding with a doubleheader on Oct. 14 against Valdosta State and North Alabama.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern got on the board first with a 3-0 start in the opening set, and never trailed en route to a 25-18 victory. After Saint Leo tied things up at 10-10, the Mocs reeled off five points in a row to take a commanding 15-10 lead. The Lions were able to trim the deficit to just four points on several occasions in the late stages, but FSC fended off each Saint Leo attack to grab the seven-point win.
• In the second set, it was Saint Leo that would jump out to an early advantage, snagging a 9-6 lead in the early going. After Florida Southern called a timeout and closed the gap to a single point, eventually gaining the lead (21-18) in the late going. However, the Lions responded with 5-0 run to regain the lead and went on to take the second set by a 25-23 final.
• The Mocs would answer back in the third set despite falling behind by five points (9-4) early on. Florida Southern was able to score 10 of the 14 points to take a 14-13 lead and swing momentum back in its favor. A late 4-0 run gave the Moccasins a 20-16 cushion, and Florida Southern finished off the set on another 4-0 run to take a 25-19 set victory and a 2-1 lead in the match.
• As was the case all night, the team who lost the previous set answered back with a win. Saint Leo was able to parlay a 6-0 run early in the fourth set to grab a 14-17 lead and never looked back en route to a 25-17 fourth-set win to force a decisive fifth set.
• In the fifth set, Saint Leo looked as if it would close out Florida Southern as the Lions built a four-point lead (9-5) midway through. But the Mocs were able to hang in, tying the set with a 5-1 run and taking the lead (11-10) on Nicole Mattson's 16th kill of the night. Saint Leo score the next two points to go up 12-11, but FSC tallied the next four to take a 15-12 fifth-set victory and a 3-2 win.
• Florida Southern hit .206 on the attack while holding the Lions to just .119. Saint Leo entered the night ranked third in the SSC in attack percentage and second in the conference in opponent attack percentage (.129) - a number that had been good for 30th nationally. The Mocs finished with 14 blocks to just seven for the Lions and each team recorded seven service aces.
• Anna Tovo (18), Nicole Mattson (17) and Sydney Marshall (13) were the three Mocs to tally double-digit kills. Tovo added 22 digs, while Allie Geary finished with seven blocks and Mattson had five of her own. Bethany Besancenez notched 52 assists and recorded a team-best 23 digs.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 72-9 all-time against Saint Leo, including a 28-7 mark when facing the Lions on the road. The victory was FSC's first over a ranked opponent this season and gives the Mocs 105 wins against nationally-ranked opponents since the start of the volleyball program.
• Besancenez pushed her career assist total to 3,039 to become the ninth player in program history with 3,000 assists. She currently ranks seventh in school history in assists and needs just 47 more to move into sixth place.
• Tovo has now recorded 1,315 kills during her career and is seven shy of moving into seventh place in the FSC record books. Geary increased her career block total to 316 and needs just four more to move into sole possession of 10th place in school history in career blocks.
• Florida Southern will head to the South Region Crossover in Hoover, AL to face three different Gulf South Conference opponents this weekend. The action opens with a matchup against West Alabama on Friday and concludes with a doubleheader on Saturday against Valdosta State and North Alabama.
• The Mocs return to SSC action Oct. 20 at home against Barry before hosting Nova Southeastern on Oct. 21. Florida Southern is on the road for the remainder of the month of October but plays five of its final seven matches at home in November.